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by Samoa Rowe
September 18, 2019
From Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida, LIVE on USA Network. Our hosts are Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Beth Phoenix. The 2-hour era of NXT is upon us. Well, the first hour is on USA, the second is on WWE Network, which is kind of confusing and inconvenient. This will only be a first hour review, as I do not currently subscribe to WWE Network and do not care to sign up again. Will NXT soar to new heights, or will the burden of drawing ratings and potential McMahon tinkering doom the brand?
The first thing we see is a super duper close up of Triple H's solemn face, as he puts the show over as the night everything changes. Triple H pulls back the curtain and steps into the studio and the crowd goes nuts.
#1 Contender for NXT Women's Championship:
Io Shirai vs. Bianca Belair vs. Mia Yim vs. Candice LeRae
Candice wants a piece of Io, who is EVIL now, but has to deal with Belair first, who hits a press slam. Belair hits a handspring senton and cuts off Yim. Belair whips Shirai into a 619, and hits a missile dropkick for 2. Yim returns with a tornado DDT and kick off, but LeRae interrupts with a DDT on Io onto the apron. Before I'm done typing, LeRae gets slammed on the floor by Belair and Yim takes them out with a dive, all leading to evil Shirai hitting a dive off the top rope to send us to commercial. The first 3 minutes were excellently executed nonstop spotty action. Back from break, just in time for a four person TOWER OF DOOM, which the crowd just totally eats up. LeRae catches Shirai in the octopus, but it's broken up . Shirai hits Belair with a sick backbreaker before collapsing herself. LeRae catches Shirai with a snap German, but Belair snaps her into the turnbuckles. Yim catches Belair with Code Blue, but Shirai breaks the cover. Belair hits a double spear on Shirai and Yim and turns around to hit LeRae with the K.O.D. Yim breaks the cover and the ring clears out. LeRae counters Yim's electric chair with a reverse rana! LeRae's springboard moonsault finishes Yim at 10:02! Great opening match, with the best outcome, ***½.
Winner: Candice LeRae
LeRae is celebrating when Women's Champion Shayna Bazsler and her minions arrive to surround her in an attempt to intimidate. LeRae doesn't back down and the moment ends without any incident.
Sean Maluta vs. Cameron Grimes
Grimes was previously Trevor Lee, who made the rounds through many upper tier indie feds. Bell rings and Maluta charges right into a leaping double stomp to the chest from Grimes and it's over at 0:06. This felt kind of flukey, but still signals that Grimes is a tough customer.
Winner: Cameron Grimes
NXT North American Championship:
The Velveteen Dream © vs. Roderick Strong
Good move by NXT putting Dream in a featured match in the first hour. Dream might have the most upside of any prospect on the brand, so the stakes are somewhat high in this one. Bell rings and Strong aggressively initiates some grappling, with Dream using his size advantage to force a break. Dream blows a kiss and Strong takes him down, but Dream reverses into a wristlock. The pace quickens and Dream lariats Strong to the floor. Dream blows another kiss as they head to commercial. They're back, and Dream is having a field day outmaneuvering Strong and mocking him every step of the way. Strong knocks Dream off the apron and follows with a back suplex onto the barricade. Strong continues the assault with a basement dropkick through the ropes and administers the punishing CHINLOCK! Dream powers out but Strong hits a nasty urinage backbreaker. Dream is still in trouble as they head to a second commercial break. They're back and Strong is lighting Dream up with chops. Multiple commercial breaks in a match hurt a whole lot, as my attention has absolutely moved on to other things I could be doing right now. Dream fights off a superplex and nails a double ax handle. Dream continues to rally with superkicks and gains a superclose nearfall. Strong kicks out of the Dream-DT! They blocks superplexes over the ropes until Strong hits a stiff head kick. They trade blows and Strong ties Dream up in the ropes for a series of drive by forearm shots. Backbreaker and Tiger Bomb by Strong only gets 2! The crowd is LOUD as Dream barely escapes the Strong Hold. Strong's Undisputed Era cohorts arrive at ringside, and you can fee the air suck out of the building. Dream realizes he's surround and Strong throws him into the referee! Dream hits the Dream Valley Driver but distractions from the UE allow Strong to plant Dream for a RED HOT nearfall. Dream bounces up for another Dream Valley Driver, but O'Reilly kicks him off the turnbuckles. Strong's double knee backbreaker finishes Dream at 22:32! Man, I'm angry at the Undisputed Era for all the right reasons! Dream got robbed and I want to see him get some payback! This became awesome before it was finished, capitalizing on a tremendously hot crowd, ****.
Winner and new NXT North American Champion: Roderick Strong
: I went into this not really expecting or demanding anything in particular, and what we got was a pretty standard episode of NXT, albeit with high stakes and an increased sense of urgency. I don't like that the second hour is continuing on WWE Network, maybe I'll review it later on Hulu (maybe I won't). Anyways, I digress, this was a good hour of wrestling. Thumbs Up.
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